ANAHEIM (CBSLA.com/AP) — “The Twilight Zone” is ceding way to “Guardians of the Galaxy” on Disneyland’s popular Tower of Terror ride, but a change that could be seen as a victory for millennials’ pop culture is drawing complaints from thrill-seekers of all ages.
The plan was greeted with boos as soon as it was announced to fans during a “Guardians” panel at Comic-Con in San Diego in July. Negative votes are outpacing positive ones by a 3-to-1 margin on a YouTube video describing the project. A Slate article on the plan to close the ride in January described it as “a national tragedy.”
A Change.org online petition that has attracted 35,000 signatures questioned why Disney would replace what it called a “truly inspired and original idea” with “a marketing ploy.”
“To many, this feels very ‘un-Disney-like’ in it’s disregard for the popularity of the attraction,'” the petition says.
The ride, which opened in 2004, features the voice of “Twilight Zone” creator Rod Serling greeting visitors to the mock Hollywood Tower Hotel as they are strapped into seats and plunged down an elevator shaft.
Disney executive Joe Rhode explains in a promotional video that the revamped ride will have the same freefall experience, but everything leading up to it will have a “Guardians” theme when it reopens next year.
Disney didn’t respond to a request for comment on the reasoning behind the change, but there’s no doubt many riders may be unfamiliar with Serling or his weekly fright-fest “Twilight Zone” series that began airing in the 1960s. “Guardians of the Galaxy” was a surprise blockbuster in 2014 and a sequel is set for next year.
The addition of the “Guardians of the Galaxy” theme into the ride is widely seen as an attempt to incorporate more of Disney’s Marvel characters into the park. Disneyland had licensed the rights to “Twilight Zone” from CBS.
Tower of Terror fans still have time to take one final ride. Disney is running the ride in complete darkness through Halloween and is offering special merchandise to commemorate its closing. The Tower of Terror shuts its doors for good on January 2.
Still, scaffolding has already gone up on the building, presaging the renovation, according to photos from visitors.
Disney hasn’t announced any changes to a sister attraction at Walt Disney World in Florida.
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